1319-1320: Post-Mormons of Color Discuss Racism, George Floyd, the Protests, and President Russell M. Nelson’s Reaction

On 6/2/2020 I sat down with eight super-thoughtful Post-Mormons of color to discuss the unlawful killing of people of color by law enforcement officers and white citizens in the United States of America.

While these killings happen on a monthly basis in the United States, and have been occurring for centuries — three of the 2020 killings that seem to be invoking particularly strong reactions are those of:

  • George Floyd (46) – Killed in May in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin, while fellow officers watched.
  • Ahmaud Arbery (25) – Killed in South Georgia by Travis McMichael, while his father watched.
  • Breonna Taylor – Killed in March in Louisville by narcotics detectives after they knocked down her apartment door

We are aware the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery only because they were recorded by smart phones. As summarized by actor Will Smith, “Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.”

These killings have led to numerous public protests throughout the United States, including this past weekend in Salt Lake City. In some instances, it has been reported that white supremacists have infiltrated some of the protests to stoke violence and disorder.

We also discussed LDS Church president Russell M. Nelson’s recent statement in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, and the corresponding protests surrounding public awareness of Floyd’s death.

Our panelists included the following: Cecile Shellman, Spencer Nugent, Darron Smith, Jason Ball, Kimilyn Poulson, Mark Nugent, Solange Renfroe, and Victoria Denise.

A few resources recommended by panelists include the following:

Part 1: Introductions of Panelists, Discussion of Racism in America

Part 2: A Review of Mormon Prophet Russell M. Nelson’s Statement in Response to George Floyd’s Killing and the Subsequent Protests



Part 1: Introductions of Panelists, Discussion of Racism in America

Download MP3

Part 2: A Review of Mormon Prophet Russell M. Nelson’s Statement in Response to George Floyd’s Killing and the Subsequent Protests

Download MP3

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  1. Just posted on https://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/gwubms/mormon_stories_13191320/

    I just watched this podcast.

    Everyone should invest 3 hours to deepen your understanding and empathy for our brothers and sisters not born into the exclusive “white and delightsome” club.

    You will hear heartfelt responses to what the Spokesmodel for Jesus published to the world in response to the protesting and rioting happening as we speak.

    Here is the link. Please click, watch and listen with your heart.


    Many thanks to u/johndehlin and his brave guests on the panel for sharing their personal experiences as second class less-thans … not only in the world at large, but also as members of the Only True Church.

  2. Thank you so much for inviting this panel! I am a Hispanic “post-Mormon” who grew up in Mesa,Az circa 1970’s. My family were the only POC in the ward, maybe even the stake now that I think about it. We moved from Phoenix to Mesa for better schools when I was 10 so I primarily grew up with a more diverse population both in our neighborhood and in our ward in Phx. The first Sunday we attended our new Mesa ward we were told that the Spanish ward met at a later time and in another building. I looked at my mom questioningly because the person telling us this information was trying to speak to us in Spanish We are not a Spanish speaking family. My mom answered (in English) that we were in the right place and this was our new ward and introduced all of us. I remember the look on the persons face because she had no excuse to send us away to another ward building. I have never known racism outside of the church. I am of mixed heritage( primarily European and Native and a sprinkling of North African) so some people outside of the church think I’m Italian or maybe Persian or maybe an Islander or Native. But in my Mesa ward, I was stamped as a Mexican ( because anyone with brown skin must be Mexican,right?) I actually tried to correct someone once by telling them my grandfather was Puerto Rican to which they responded, “same difference”, and had endured endless micro aggressions until I left the church at 23. My heart is bursting after watching this panel sharing their stories because I can empathize so well with some of their experiences. The fact remains, and I have argued this with family still active in the church, that racism is so absolutely prevalent within the church because NOBODY in any leadership role denounces it or makes a plan of action to change things. And maybe this is a case of Conservatism and church dogma being so intertwined like one of your panelists mentioned. I have lived all over this country and have never met the kind of insults I have as in the church, especially in Mesa. I feel validated today after watching this panel because I feel like someone final heard us. Thank you! ❤️

    1. The cultural ignorance of church members never ceases to amaze me. True experience:
      Soon after moving into a new ward with a very homogeneous racial demographic, one member asked me why I was of a darker complexion than my wife since we were both of Latin American descent. I paused in disbelief for a moment, then began by explaining that I spend more time in the sun, and then proceeded to show him my (fairly white) ass.

  3. Thank you all participants, that was just excellent. Since hearing from Darron explain on a previous podcast how I am racist, i have reflected a lot on this, and I see things differently. Thanks again everyone.

  4. A brilliant panel that spoke their truths. I have watched many Mormon Stories and this one resonates. Thanks to all panel members and John Dehlin for bringing us into the light. Communication is power and the base for change. I will share this.

  5. What up big D ehlin,

    You commented on rap that has inspired you, who are a couple of your favs? Ghostface Killah, NWA, and Scarface are a few that you, and the fam should check out. Like scripture you gotta get into the right espirt de corps to really ga ga-get the inspiring message.

    Keeps it real dawg, peace,

    S P Ditto

  6. In reply to Victoria’s last statement, the church will never admit they have endorsed racist teachings. To admit that would possibly cause a loss of members which equals a loss of money. Victoria, you said it wouldn’t be enough for you, even if the church did apologize, so of course they aren’t going to risk bringing down the church with admittance of racism and harmful teachings. They are thinking, they will cut their losses short by losing a few people of color, rather than losing an entire flock of 10% /plus paying followers.

  7. Phyllis P. Ofosuah

    Thank you all for sharing your hearts stories love to read them. Glad to have the chance here as l have been thinking of what is going on in our Beautiful world created by a loving Savior Jesus The Only true Chist. I am a Black woman and a member for almost 35 years.I first experienced racism when we moved to Sweden in Church, then it got worse when l was called as a relief society presdent. Even in the Temple, the house of the Lord as a shiftleader! But you know what? The Church is true, l love the Lord and my faith in Jesus Christ and my strong testimony about His holy work on earth has given me comfort and power to overcome all these challenges l went through. I have come to understand that the members are not perfect, but the Church is! I pray that the Good Lord who knows our hearts will help those who have hatred towards others members just because of where heavenly Father Placed them on His map for His purpose that they will be blessed with the knowledge given to Paul, Ammon and his brothers and Alma the younger that there will be no more pain and sorrow in the Church we come to Church because we Beleive it a Place to find peace and joy, one heart, one mind! Not where someone wants to put us down.our kneels are for prayers not to kneel on someones neck! Please to all those who have left the Church please come back for the sake of your salvation please dont let someone take from you what you know its true! Thank you all, May God’s will be done, love you.

  8. It was wonderful to hear the 3 Nugents from Jamaica. I have great respect for their parents and it was very special to hear them. One of my earliest memories I questioned was the discomfort I felt when I went to BYU. My roomates educated me on racist doctrine that I was not aware of. One response I made still resonates with me today. I am Jamaican and I am not related to Cain.

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